The immediate reaction was disappointment, but the long-term view -- all positive.
Sheanon Williams, the ultimate competitor, wanted to keep playing. He wanted to be in Major League Soccer's playoff picture.
Of course. That’s the goal for every player.
“Look around this room,” Williams said, “and you see so much talent. A lot of these guys will be back. I’m sure pieces will be added. And we’ll be back with a hunger and drive to get back to the playoffs.”
Sure, Williams was a bit miffed about missing the postseason, but the ever-improving defender remembers playing for the Harrisburg City Islanders for a big chunk of the Union's 2010 expansion season in MLS. Williams was unsure of his future. He had been through a number of tryouts but nothing had materialized.
Then his chance came late in 2010 and he has never looked back. Even today, he instead continues to look to the future.
“I think we’ll go back and take so many positives from this season that will carry over into next season,” Williams said. “I think you need to take learning experiences and benefit from them. Next season, we’ll be better off for what we learned. When that success comes, we’ll be even more appreciative. It’s a short offseason these days in MLS.
“Before you know it, we’ll be in training and preparing for the next season. Having been to the playoffs in 2011, we know that we can do it. For us, it’s a matter of being consistent for the whole season. We hit a skid at a tough time this season and it cost us at the end. Every game is just as meaningful whether it’s in March or October.”
At the end of the season, Williams became the first player to compete in 100 games for the Union.
He hopes there will be many, many more.
“When I got the call in 2010, I didn’t know if I would even play one game,” Williams said. “I was hoping I would but I didn’t know. Everything was up in the air. To get to this point in my career has been a dream come true. It’s been the greatest thing and I’m so fortunate. I just want to win. I know for me, I’ll come back with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I know the character of guys in this room. We’ll all come back ready.”
Have thoughts on Williams and the defensive unit heading into the 2014 season? Leave your comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org